People familiar with baseball know about the championship SF Giants team, but do you know about the redwood forest of Coastal Sequoia Redwood Giants? The Coastal Redwood trees are the tallest living thing in the world. They can grow to over 370 feet tall and are found just north of San Francisco along the coast up through Oregon.
From the very popular Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, take a short 35-minute drive up to Muir Woods. This magical place will inspire you as you walk among the tall giants.
The Coastal Redwood trees love the fog that comes and dampens their branches. They could not survive without the moister from the mist. There are many birds and wildlife inhabitants around the grove. This includes bright yellow banana slugs; every kid would love to find one of these. Might be hard to see but they are there.
Muir Woods has several options to walk through the trees and above them. The main trail paralleling the creek is nicely set-up. You can choose a distance you would like to walk with the option of four different bridges that cross Redwood Creek to make a loop trail. You may see trout and salmon along the way living in the water.
Two additional trails will take you higher up to give a different perspective of the redwood grove – Canopy View Trail and Hillside Trail, one on each side of the creek. If you hike out to bridge four, you actually will return via the Hillside Trail.
One of my favorite traits of these coastal giants is their “family circles.” Sprouts will grow around an original tree trunk in a circle, to become full-sized trees. They call these groups “Family Circles.”
History of the Redwood
Father Juan Crespi, on October 10, 1769, named the trees “redwood” because of the red hue of the bark. William and Elizabeth Kent bought the property in 1905 specifically to preserve these exotic trees. The area was named after John Muir, naturalist, writer and the first president of the Sierra Club. It was one of the earliest National Monuments/Parks in the nation. US Representative William Kent co-sponsored the legislation that created the National Park Service in 1916 (over 100 years ago).
Other California Giants in
There is another redwood forest of Giant Redwood trees near Yosemite National Park in California – the Mariposa Grove. This area along the Sierra Nevada Mountains is home to Giant Sequoias. Slightly shorter than their Coastal Sequoia cousins, but their diameter is wider, and they can live a thousand years longer. They can grow to be 40 feet wide, with bark as deep as 31 inches. Take a moment to imagine how wide one of these redwoods can be. That width (40 feet) is wider than many homes.
If you are going to Yosemite on Hwy 41 from Fresno, once you get to the park entrance look at the signs, just past the park entrance if you go left it will take you to Yosemite Valley, but if you go right, the Mariposa Grove is a short distance.
If you are visiting California, please take the time to visit these amazing Redwood Forest living giants.
When looking at the pictures – it is hard to tell the size. Look at the fence posts; each is about 5 feet long. In the first image, there is a woman with an orange umbrella. She is about five feet tall.
|Coastal Sequoia||Giant Sequoia|
|Height – to 379.1 feet||Height – to 311 feet|
|Age – to 2,000 years||Age – to 3,200 years|
|Diameter– to 22 ft at breast height||Diameter– to 40 ft at breast height|
|Bark Thickness – to 12 in thick||Bark Thickness – to 31 in thick|
Chart information provided by the National Park Service
Photos by Thomas Graham and Cynthia Graham.
Muir Woods Visitor Center, 1 Muir Woods Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941
Open 8 am to sunset, year-round
Entrance Fee (in 2019): $15 a person, ages 15 and over. Children under 15 are free. An annual pass is available. Have a child in the fourth grade? You may be able to get in free, check with the park.
Parking can be difficult. There is a shuttle available May through October on weekends.
There is no cell reception – IMPORTANT to know if you are coming/going by cab, Uber or another car service.
Jackets are recommended – under the trees it can be cool.
On the site look at the calendar for special tours before and after regular park hours.